The issue features neither Batman nor the Outsiders
A strange thing happens when a single character dips his finger into multiple titles.Â Take Batman, for example.Â He appears, or appeared if you want to be more specific, in Batman, Detective Comics, JLA, Batman and the Outsiders, Batgirl, Nightwing, Robin, Trinity, Final Crisis, Superman/Batman, and various other appearances and guest spots in the rest of the DC universe.Â When some brainiac decides it would be a great idea to kill Batman (figuratively or literally, we donâ€™t know yet) it causes nothing but problems in the rest of the titles.Â Batman and the Outsiders is a perfectly example of one story screwing another.
We wonâ€™t find out the fate of Batman until the next issue of Batman, hitting stands this week, but for Batman and the Outsiders, the aftermath of Batmanâ€™s absence is already being felt as the pieces are being picked up.Â If thereâ€™s one thing DC seems to have trouble with these last two years itâ€™s getting their stories lined up, with everyone on the same page, and issues and titles being released in a particular order.Â I can understand if Grant Morrison wants to keep everything secret until he figures out how he wants to end his magnum opus, but thatâ€™s a George Lucas mentality, and weâ€™ve all seen how that worked (or didnâ€™t) with his secrecy surrounding the prequel flicks.
Unfortunately, I canâ€™t fault Frank Tieri for the failings in this issue.Â Itâ€™s obvious heâ€™s trying to tell a solid story, but without the crucial questions answered; namely â€œwhat happened to Batmanâ€, all he can do is throw together a loose collection of scenes that carries the reader over for another month or two before everything solidifies as all the writers around the DCU are given their new marching orders on story line direction.
To make things even more confusing, this past week also saw the release of the fifth issue of the Batgirl mini-series, which not only features Batman, but also takes place before RIP.
With the breakup of the Outsiders in the previous issue, Batgirl is trying to find a way to keep peace in Gotham.Â From confronting an out of control Man-Bat in Penguinâ€™s Iceberg Lounge, to approaching Vigilante after his on-panel, shot to the mouth, brains exploding out the back attack on Johnny Stitchesâ€™ goons, to wanting to talk to Spoiler, Batgirl is looking for help.Â Matthew and I have been having many discussions lately as to the content of comics marketed toward an all-age audience, and I think the full on brains exploding moment is really shocking and violent, and probably should have earned this title a mature sticker on the cover.Â I find it ironic that on the page previous Fernando Dagnino drew a woman and child in Johnny Stitchesâ€™ Pow! Club, and to protect the child, the woman is covering the boyâ€™s eyes.Â Ah metatextual irony.
When the subtitle says â€œFeaturing Batgirlâ€, I would expect her to play a more active role in the issue, but instead we find her at the very end of the issue, sitting in a destroyed batcave, going over a potential list of new Outsiders who wonâ€™t replace Batman completely, but instead signify a specific aspect of the Dark Knight.Â On that short list of potential new Outsiders?Â Spoiler, Mia Dearden (Speedy), Huntress, The Question, Catwoman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Robin, The Riddler, Batwoman, Man-Bat, Barbara Gordon, Wildcat, Vigilante, Jason Todd, Jason Bard, and someone else that is hidden from view – could be Deadshot, could be a Skrull.
Alfred appears on the scene and while he congratulates Cassandra on her selection, he does point out that Nightwing is not on the list.Â If continuity does matter, we know Alfred is not dead following RIP, and considering Nightwing shows up on the last panel (not in a Batman outfit) it places the story firmly in the Battle for the Cowl realm.Â Considering the bad blood between Nightwing and Batgirl, thereâ€™s going to be a whole lot of fisticuffs come next issue.
Iâ€™m not thrilled with the direction the series is taking, especially since it features neither Batman nor the Outsiders as they were originally created by Nightwing (double burn there Richard).Â Depending on how things shake out, and to keep readers from poking their eyes out with a sharp stick, we better be seeing a title change in the very near future.Â Batgirl and the Outsiders?Â Bats of Prey?Â Justice League Lite?Â Until then, Iâ€™m giving Batgirl and the Long List of Potential Partners Batman and the Outsiders #13 2 out of 5 Stars.